Sewing is not my forte. My mother could make anything with a sewing machine. She tailored suits and coats and did intricate embroidery with her computerized New Home sewing machine, now mine. Mom sewed clothing for me, including my wedding gown, and also created special clothing for my children and me for many years. She even made two white eyelet First Communion dresses for my daughter. Since my parents lived in Florida and we were in NJ the dress was mailed via our postal service. It never came to the dismay of all. We filed a claim and my mother made another dress. The second one was very pretty, but not as elaborate as the first. Sometime after the event I actually found the box hidden in the shrubbery to the right of our front porch. It was the one and only time a delivery person used this spot as a secure delivery option. Although my daughter was crushed that she didn’t get to wear the original dress, we loaned it to my niece who wore it the following year for her First Communion. Such is life.
A recent purchase from Amazon included the book “The Artful Bird” by Abigail Patner Glassenberg. A post online by “Birds and Blooms,” a magazine for birding enthusiasts and gardeners, highlighted this how-to volume for making soft, fabric birds. This Christmas I received a wonderful felted bird from a friend and knew at that point I would have to eventually try to make one. Again, my sewing abilities leave much to be desired. I do have some experience but it frequently came with limited success. I inherited so many of my mother’s traits, but somehow her seamstress skill missed joining my genetic code. My paternal grandmother also spent her life employed as a seamstress in a factory. Where did the genes for this go? Certainly not to me.
A few weeks ago I read the instructions in my new book for making a wren. The pattern pieces were small (finished size 4 1/2 inches) and I hesitated to proceed due to my lack of manual dexterity. Years of using my hands as an art teacher on small motor activities left me with a numbing case of carpal tunnel syndrome in both hands. I have learned to live with the unpleasant and sometimes painful symptoms, usually just powering through after shaking them a bit. After some consideration I took on the fabric sewn bird project. Lots of steps, lots of materials and lots of very specific directions left me wondering why I ever decided to do this. I prefer to learn by doing, but had no video or instructor for this endeavor. Step my step instructions with photos are helpful but not my favorite plan for trying something new. Yesterday I finally began the sewing of pattern pieces I had cut out more than a week ago. All did not go smoothly, as expected, but in the end I think the result wasn’t too bad. Again, my sewing machine control and hand stitching aren’t perfect. The overall finished bird is a little rough in spots, but I now have an understanding of the process and probably will attempt another down the road. My husband offered to scan and enlarge the pattern pieces so that I could work on a larger piece. A larger format would certainly make it easier. My wren is not realistic in color, but it does resemble a bird! Here she is: